Thursday, March 31, 2011

What to do with Old Tires

Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Recycling. Old automobile tires can be converted into many useful things. Just don't throw them away, or keep them in a corner where mosquitoes, rodents, and other vermin may breed. The presentation here is based on the result of a classroom exercise on environment. Because the answers are already given - and there are other uses applicable in your place or country - you might as well use this exercise to conduct a similar one, preferably with an actual demonstration, workshop style.

Initiate a project at home or in your community using this practical lesson, and share with us your experience.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Philippine Carabao - a Threatened Species

Typical Philippine carabao

Beating the summer heat. Agoo, La Union

The oil and food crisis revived much interest about the lowly water buffalo that nearly relinquished its old-age role to agricultural modernization. Although the animal still serves as a beast of burden on the farm, the fact is that it is now a threatened species in many parts of the world.

As a work animal it is efficient, it requires little maintenance, and depreciates slowly. As a biological unit, it is capable of providing food, articles of trade and services. As an ecological unit, it is key to sustainability in farm production and balance of the ecosystem .

How much do we really know about the water buffalo? Here is a question and answer review:

Q : How is the Asian water buffalo related to the American bison and African buffalo?

A : They are distant relatives although they belong to a common family (Bovidae) and genus (Bos) which also includes the Indian on Zebu cattle, Bali cattle, and all European cattle breeds. Each group has marked characteristics in anatomy, physiology and behavior.

Q : Is cross breeding among these groups possible?
A : Not for water buffaloes which breed strictly within its group (Water buffaloes are grouped under sub-genus Bubalinae. It is known that the other groups can be crossbred with Zebu cattle, and European cattle, bisons and Zebu/European cattle, Bali cattle and European/Zebu cattle.

Q : To what type of water buffalo does the Philippine carabao belong?
A : The Philippine buffalo or carabao, Bubalus carabanesis belongs to the swamp type. Its counterpart, the Indian buffalo, Bubalus bubalis belongs to the river type. It is not indigenous and therefore, is not locally popular.

Q : To what group does the tamaraw belong?
A : The tamaraw, Anoa mindorensis, is a related wild species, and belongs to the same family. Other off-lineages are the Anoa depressionis of Sulawesi (Indonesia) and the seros (Capricornis sumatraensis) of Sumatra.

Q : What colors are water buffaloes distinguished?
A : Buffaloes are predominantly grey, grey-black or normal black. There are however, few white ones or albino. The rarest is the black-and-white which is known to exist only in Toroja, South Sulawesi, which is highly prized for its value in religious offering.

Q : What is the productive life span of a working buffalo?
A : The Philippine carabao is put to continuous work from the age of 4 years up to 15 years, or over.Three females can perform the same work as two males.

Q : How is the draft of buffaloes compared with that of cattle?
A : At 4 to 11 years old male crossbred cattle has a power equivalent to 74 percent that of a 7 to 15 years old male carabao. A native male cattle delivers only 58 percent power. A young 4 to 6 years old male carabao is only half as strong as one twice its age.

Q : Buffaloes feed on low nutritious coarse roughages such as rice straw yet they attain remarkable size and fast growth rate. How do you account for this feat?
A : Surprisingly, they are able to convert low quality rations effectively and live over lengthy periods under conditions unsuitable for other domestic animals. Buffaloes have been found to enjoy high feed conversion efficiency. They have a 5 to 7 percent advantage over Holstein cattle on digestibility coefficients. It is proven that the bacterial count in the rumen of the buffalo especially the large Osillatoria type that aids in digestion, is 10 to 30 times more than in he cow. This is complemented by the longer retention time of the feed thereby further aiding to a more complete digestion.

Q : How long is the gestation of buffaloes and at what age are the calves weaned?
A : 322 days, 40 days more than cattle. Weaning time is 8 to 9 months. Calving interval is 1 1/2 to 2 years, or earlier under a breeding management program.

Q : Is the quality of carabeef is inferior to beef?
A : There is little difference if the slaughtered animals are of the same age.

Q : Buffalo milk is richer than dairy cows' milk. Is this true?
A : True.Buffalo milk is richer in all major nutrients and has much higher total which is important in creaming. Philippine carabao's milk has 9.65 percent fat (4.5 percent higher than Jersey's cow's milk), 5.26 percent protein, 4.24 percent casein, 5.29 percent lactose, 20.36 percent total solids, 0.083 percent chloride, 0.216 percent calcium, and 0.177 percent phosphorous. Philippine carabaos, produce the highest fat and total solids content than any domesticated buffaloes. Local soft white cheese is made from carabao's milk.

Q : How important is the hide of the water buffalo?
A : India and Pakistan are the souces of buffalo hide, while the US, UK, Yugoslavia, Italy and Australia are the major markets. The hide is used for all types of heavy leather manufacture from belts to upholstery, and recently, articles for the fashion world. In the Philippines, we consume a lot of "chicharon" which is made of carabao hide, kare-kare which is partly skin of the animal, and a favorite pulutan called caliente, softened thin slices of hide spiced heavily with ginger, onion and red pepper.

Q : How do carabaos contribute to ecological balance?
A : Firstly, their mud wallows serve as abode of useful organisms including edible snails, frogs, mudfish and shrimps which use them also as aestivating place during summer. When the monsoon rains come, the population of these organisms readily increases to the delight of farmers who depend on them for food. Secondly, they are agents, in fact, biological machine in recycling waste and residues on the farm.

Q : What value has the excreta of the animal?
A : it is a good organic fertilizer containing 18.5 percent nitrogen, 43.7 percent phosphoric acid, and 9.6 percent potash. It is a good source of fuel either as dried dung, or in generating biogas. By the way, per capital solid waste output is 18.8 kg. per day or 6,896 kg. annually. Thirdly, it is mixed with clay as a building material or as a plaster on the ground where palay is threshed.

With the efforts of the Philippine Carabao Research and Training Center based at Central Luzon State University (Muñoz, Nueva Ecija), and its regional and provincial centers, carabao population is expected to increase not only for farm power but for meat and dairy, ecological significance notwithstanding.

Let us not underestimate this lowly beast of burden. It is Nature's most efficient farm machine capable of providing food, articles of trade and services. It requires little maintenance and depreciates very slow. The carabao generally enjoys perfect health and long productive life. There is some truth in the aphorism that "a sick carabao is a dead carabao". --------------------------------------------------------------------------

The presence of the carabao on Philippine landscape adds aesthetics to rural life. National artist Fernando Amorsolo was fond of portraying the carabao is his paintings of countryside. ~

Reference: Living with Nature in Our Times, by AV Rotor UST

A Cross in the Sky

Abe V Rotor

Skeleton of a 50-year old mango tree, QC 1970

I have lost you forever,
now a silhouette in the sky,
spreading a gospel to remember
for the mindless passerby.

You lived half of your life,
yet fullest at the Throne,
earning it well with strife
where every seed is grown.

The birds you cared now a flock,
many a child into man;
you bid them all good luck,

and now they are gone.

For many years you sheltered me,
a thought I can't be free;
I atone for your brevity
by planting a million tree.~

Light in the Woods, AVR Megabooks 1995

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Kindness to animals. Pets deserved our greatest love and care, more so when they are infirmed, such as this dog-on-wheels.

A most relaxing scene of master and pet, UST grounds

Paralyzed from waist down since birth one would simply bestow quick mercy and final end to a dachshund, bereft of all that is expected of the breed as pet and member of the family and household.

Would you do that to a child? she said. I fell silent. Then she assembled a two-wheeled cart and mounted her infirmed pet, now half-dog and half-machine, a moving scene that held the clouds floating, slowed feet hurrying, and time ticking that morning on the grounds of UST, the country's oldest university.

The beagle struggled at first, got the momentum, then smoothly glided on the pavement on its own with the well-oiled cart virtually without effort, but a sense of comfort and joy instead. And master followed, she now the pet for she followed all things that made her dog a most loving creature.

In life we cease to be masters when we love, when we care, specially the poor, the helpless, the homeless, the doomed. ~

Pineapple is the only edible Bromeliads

Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Family Bromeliaceae, gardener's favorite ornamental plant. Pineapple is the only member of the family that is edible, and one of the top fruits of the world.

Closeup of the different Bromeliad flowers

Bromeliad nursery at Manila Nursery Foundation, Edsa, QC

Lower photos - pineapple farm, Silang Cavite

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fuel from Non-Food Plants

Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Alternative fuel from plants that grow wild and don't complete with food source. Coconut, corn and sugarcane are too expensive as alternative sources of fuel for our cars, home and industry. Besides, converting food into fuel will aggravate poverty condition specially in developing countries where millions of people are hungry and malnourished.

These examples of non-food plants for fuel open the avenue of discovering more in different countries. Why don't you add to our list?

Hanga, ripe fruits directly burn into yellowish
blue flame. Benguet.

Consuelda (Euphorbia tirucalli) produces diesel
fuel and locomotive oil. UST atop main building

Palomaria or bitaog (Ilk) (Calophylum inophylum)
contains 60 percent oil in its seed, excellent for motor oil.
Its wood makes excellent furniture. UST Botanical Garden

Talahib (Saccharum spontaneum), relative of sugar
cane produces ethanol for fuel and industrial uses.

Madre de cacao or kakawati (foreground) is the
most popular firewood in the Philippines and the
tropics. Its branches are periodically pruned for
firewood. The tree lives for twenty to fifty years.
It thrives in arid wasteland. Lake Tikob, Tiaong,

Living with Nature, AVR

Best known novels and their authors

Abe V Rotor

Match the author and his work.

A. Here is a list of the world best known novels written by these famous authors. A. William Shakespeare B. Irving Stone C. Charles Dickens D. George Orwell E. Ernest Hemingway F. Pearl Buck G. John Steinbeck H. Herman Merville I. Jonathan Swift J. James Michener K. Emile Bronte

___ 1. Agony and Ecstasy
___ 2 Christmas Carol
___ 3. Merchant of Venice
___ 4. Hawaii
___ 5. Farewell to Arms
___ 6. The Good Earth
___ 7. Moby Dick
___ 8. The Pearl
___ 9. Wuthering Heights
___10. Gulliver of Lilliput

B. These are authors who may be less popular but made equally famous literary works. A. Frances H Burnett B. HG Wells C. F Scott Fitzgerald D. Edna Ferber E. Jack London F. William Faulkner G. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’ H. James Hilton I. Jane Austen J. George Orwell
___11. War of the Worlds
___12. The Secret Garden
___13. The Great Gatsby
___14. Giant
___15. The Little Prince
___16. The Sea Wolf
___17. The Lost Horizon
___18. Pride and Prejudice
___19. The Sound and the Fury
___20. Animal Farm

C. Our viewers requested to include these authors and their works. A. Jack London B. Stephen Crane C. Mark Twain D. W Somerset Maugham E. Erick Maria Remarque F. Daniel Defoe G. Nathaniel Hawthorne H. Fyodor Dostoevsky I. George Elliot J. Harper Lee
___21. Huckleberry Finn
___22. Call of the Wild
___23. The Red Badge of Courage
___24. All Quiet on the Western Front
___25. Of Human Bondage
___26. Robinson Crusoe
___27. The Scarlet Letter
___28. Crime and Punishment
___29. Silas Marner
___30. To Kill a Mockingbird

Some Books that Shaped World History

Iliad (C. 800 B.C.)
Aesop's Fables (C. 600-560 B.C.)
The History of Herodotus (C. 440 B.C.)
The Analects of Confucius (429 B.C.)
Republic (C. 378 B.C.)
Koran (C. A.D. 652)
The Travels of Marco Polo (C. 1300)
The Divine Comedy (C. 1320)
Gutenberg Bible (1455)
The Prince (1513)
Utopia (1516)
Romeo and Juliet (1594)
Don Quixote De La Mancha (1605)
Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Poor Richard's Almanack (1732-1757)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
The Last of the Mohicans (1826)
A Christmas Carol (1843)
Wuthering Heights (1847)
Civil Disobedience (1849)
David Copperfield (1849-1850)
The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-1852)
Moby Dick (1851)
On the Origin of Species (1859)
Das Kapital (1867)
Little Women (1868)
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880)
Treasure Island (1883)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
War and Peace (1886)
Noli Me Tangere (1886)
The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
The Call of the Wild (1903)
The Jungle (1906)
Relativity: The Special and General Theory (1916)
The Great Gatsby (1925)
Mein Kampf (1925; 1927)
The Sun also Rises (1926)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
The Sound and the Fury (1929)
The Good Earth (1931)
Gone with the Wind (1936)
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1947)

NOTE: Answers will be posted in a week's time.

Light from the Old Arch 2, AVR

Taming the clouds

Abe V Rotor

Detail of Mural Sunken Pier, AVR
Sto Domingo, Ilocos Sur

Giant mushrooms rise with the breeze
And I in Lilliput, they make of me
Cowering under the coconut trees
Lining the shore, leaning to sea.

Faces I see, angels and wild beasts
Changing shapes with the sun;
Doves and eagles flying to their nests,
Until all of them are gone.

The sky falls into shower, erases
And breaks the mirror of Narcissus
Into one thousand and one faces,
Of memories only time knows.

The clouds grow angry as they pass by,
Until a rainbow forms a shawl
Over the old sunken pier, and l
Once more find a Gulliver in my soul. ~

Living with Nature, AVR

Monday, March 28, 2011

What do you know about the pesky mosquito - a practical test (True or False, 25 items)

Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: The mosquito, world's number one killer and man's worst enemy. More humans have been killed by the mosquito than the total death caused by wars and conflicts combined. Alexander the Great was killed by the malaria mosquito.

Answer Key to Know your Mosquito test on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, 738 KHz AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday.

Aedes, most common mosquito in the house.

1. The saliva of mosquito contains anaethesia and anticoagulant. True, that's why we don't immediately feel the hurt, until the mosquito is full, and the anesthesia has subsided. Imagine what would happen to this insect-vampire if there's no anticoagulant.

2. Mosquitoes bite only warm blooded animals. False, there are mosquitoes that bite reptiles and amphibians.

3. Both male and female bite humans. False, only the female, the male feeds mainly on plant sap and exudates of other organisms.

4. Mosquitos can travel 50 to 75 miles, and up to 1000 ft. True

5. Mosquitoes bite anytime as long as they are hungry and there is a suitable host. False, mosquitoes by species have their feeding time. Anopheles bites chiefly in the evening and early morning, while theAedes bites during the day.

6. Anopheles and Culex cause dengue and malaria. False, Aedes carry dengue, Anopheles malaria

7. Culex is a carrier of viral encephalitis and filariasis . True

8. The adult malarial Anopheles bites with a vertical position, its larva lies horizontal just below the surface on the water. True

9. Oil kills wrigglers only by its toxic compound. False, oil covers the breathing tube, and results to asphyxiation.

10. In a year's time, there may be from 15 to 20 generations produced, with 100 eggs per generation. A common mosquito can spawn 31 billion decendants in 6 generations . True

11. Mosquitoes fight each other. True, Toxorphynchites has 3 species that feed on the wrigglers of other mosquitoes– now used as biological agents in Hawai, Fiji, Australia and Southeast Asia.

12. The nemesis of mosquitoes is fish, specifically Gambusia and Poecillia. True

13. Mosquitoes prefer to bite people who don't regularly take a bath. True

14. Those wearing white attract more mosquitoes. False, dark colored clothing.

15. People who have relatively higher temperature are preferred by mosquitoes. True

16. If you are fond of staying in a corner, you'll get more mosquito bites. True

17. Mosquitoes prefer to bite peopl;e who have shallow blood vessels. True

18. The antennae has the combined senses of hearing, tasting, smelling - and touch. True

19. The mosquito has two eyes – False, two compound eyes and simple eyes (ocelli).

20. The mosquito has two pairs of wings, hence classified under Order Diptera (two-winged). False, the hind pair of wings has evolved into halteres or balancers.

21. The life cycle of a mosquito is of three atages – egg larva, adult. False, it undergoles pupal stage before emerging into adult.

22. Mosquitoes breed in freshwater, the wrigglers feed on plankton, True

23. Allergy caused by mosquito bite is characterized by swelling and darkening of the affected area. True

24. Bats swoop on flying insects at night, except mosquitoes which are too small to be detected. – False, in fact bats have their fill mainly on mosquitoes on flight.

25. Mosquitoes are relatives of the housefly, dragonfly, and stonefly under Order Diptera. True

Bonus Questions

• British bomber and reconnaissance - Mosquito
• Italians anti-tank rockets - Mosquito

Spiders feed on mosquitoes trapped in their web

Fish are the number one biological agent against mosquitoes.

Frogs feed on adult mosquitoes on land, and wrigglers in water.

Living with Nature in Our Times, UST-AVR 2008

Two-Headed Skippers

Dr Abe V Rotor
Skippers are crepuscular (dusk loving), they
have characteristics of the moth and the butterfly.
Scientists find them unique specimens to study.

Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB, Laguna

Myth or truth - who is telling the story?
There's a Medusa among insects, too.
But where is the head, which is tail?
I am predator, how would I know?
I would rather retreat from the puzzle
and settle for an easier prey;
And let the world go by in fantasy
in make-believe story.
Ask the scientists, ask the old folks
theirs the contrast of the other;
One holds on tools, the other on belief,
to either one, why bother?
Cast doubt, indecision on the powerful,
and the prey wins the game;
Creatures big and small, strong and frail,
Survival is just the same. ~

Self-Administered Test on Energy (50 items True or False)

Abe V Rotor

This test was given on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air). This serves as answer key.

Siargao Fall, Surigao. Mural painting by Anna
Rotor and AVR 2007. St Paul University, Surigao.
Hydroelectric power is still the most popular energy source for the
home. Ambuklao, Binga, Chico, Angat, Pantabangan, and Maria
Cristina are the country's leading gemnerators of electricity.

1. You need less energy to boil water on the lowland (sea level) than on the highland (mountaintop). False, at sea level water boils at 100ºC; 3,000m – 90ºC; 6,000m – 81ºC; 9,000m – 75ºC)

2. When water boils at sea level, and you want to increase the temperature, all you need to do is burn more fuel, and even prolong it. False. Water boils at 100ºC, and remains at this temperature, water will simply change from liquid to gaseous form.

3. The temperature of boiling water inside a pressure cooker can be raised higher than 100ºC. True, usually at 120ºC for typical pressure cookers.

4. It is cooler on the mountain top than on the lowland, because the air is thinner. Air absorbs and conserves heat, even if you are closer to the sun at higher elevation.

5. Half of the fossil fuels we use for heating, electricity, machines is lost (50%) True.

6. All over the world, the percent contribution of these main energy sources are as follows: oil and gas 35 %, coal 60%, nuclear 5%. False: oil and gas 60%, coal 35% nuclear 5%

7. Worldwide eighty (80) percent of energy used for cooking come from firewood. True.

8. Generally firewood smoke is harmless to health and thje environment, If fact it drives pest and other vermin, induces flowering and fruiting of fruit trees. True

9. The most popular local firewood comes from madre de cacao and ipil-ipil. True

10. Firewood farming can be integrated with the forestry program, in mixed tree farming, strip and contour farming, helps reduce erosion and siltation, supports. True

11. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.. True.

12. Forests, irrespective of their kind and location, increase O², absorb CO², create a mini-climate, attract cloud and increase rainfall. They provide food, energy, shelter and clothing, restores wildlife, ecological sanctuary, reduces smog (suspended layer of fog and smoke). True

13. Biofuel refers to energy derived from farm waste, oil from plants such as Jatropha, consuelda, castor bean, lumbang, bitaog. True

14. Gasohol or alcogas is a mixture of ethanol and kerosene. False. Gasoline and alcohol.

15. Car maintenance includes observing carless day, planned route, and car pool. True

16. There will be one billion cars in the world by 2018. There are some 600 million cars in the world today which consume 20 million barrels of oil a day. False, consumption is based on one billion cars.

17. Driving at 100 kph on NLEX (super highway) is more economical than driving at 80 kph. False, it's the opposite.

18. It takes 1000 people to travel on 125 cars, 10 buses, 1 train. False 500 only, on the average.

19. House plan and design should be environment friendly, low in energy consumption, and easily and economical maintenance. True

20. A single lightning bolt, if only it can be stored, is enough to light a community for days. True.

21. Practice recycling to reduce energy requirement – water, re-heat food, waste utilization (wood), scrap metal, used tires, plastics, metals (bauxite most efficient in recycled metal). True

22. Austerity in electric energy consumption is necessary. Philippines has the highest cost of electric energy cost, yet it has the lowest GDP per capita. False, exaggerated data. But practice energy conservation, such as fewer and more efficient light bulbs, limit laundry (ex. sun dry, bulk washing and ironing), forego using electricity in bath, pressurized water system)

23. Our major dams - Ambuklao, Binga, Pantabangan, Chico, Angat, La Mesa – are suffering of invariable degrees of erosion, siltation and pollution. True

23. The world continues to build new nuclear power plants, even if the US and Sweden have not built new ones. True. There are 500 nuclear plants all over the world – now there is a slowdown for new ones. France, Germany, Belgium and Japan will produce more electricity from nuclear reactors.

24. The world’s worst nuclear power plant accident (meltdown) happened in Cernobyl, Kiev. True.

25. Energy of falling water is also called gravitational energy. Hydroelectric plants make use of this principle. True.

26. SWIP means Small Water Impounding Project is self contained for small communities providing them electric power generation, irrigation, fisheries and forestry. True.

27. Energy efficiency in agriculture and industry is part of sustainable productivity. It reduces greenhouse effect. True

28. Cars, cars, cars. Here are examples of people to car ratios: 1.8 US; 2.9 Russia 24; Peru 52; China 1374. (2009) True

29. The ultimate end result when energy is transformed from one form to another is low level heat. True.

30. The old Dutch windmills are coming back in the form of wind power farms. (Remember the windmill Don Quijote fought in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel – Don Quijote?) There are only 20,000 wind turbine generators (WTGs) in the world, mostly in California. True

31. Ethanol comes from sugarcane, sugar beets and root crops (cassava). One objection to biofuels is the direct competition between food and fuel, thus affecting food supply and nutrition.

32. Home Biogas generators are most found in China and India. We have in the Philippine a commercial biogas models at the Madamba Maya Farms in Rizal.

33. These are the used of Solar energy: reflected light (mirror concentrator) to generate electricity, desalination for potable and irrigation water, direct drying, solar panels, solar battery/cell. True. (Sunraycer of GM crossed Australia on a desert route at an average speed of 24 miles per hour.)

34. Fire in the Earth means geothermal energy from hot rocks and volcanic vents. Water is pump to the ground circulates in the cracks, becomes hot up to 200 centigrade and comes through a borehole which then turns a turbine that generate electricity. True. Anglo-French link – the Old Red Sandstone – produces 76 ºcentigrade, hot enough to heat buildings. In the Philippines, hot springs in Los Baños and Tiwi in Albay are the most popuilar giothermal projects. True.

35. New sails for sea vessels are being developed – but this is not significant to reduce energy of sea vessels which would rather run on fuel. False. New sails can replace engine power.

36. Surging energy of the sea - waves, tides, heat content, salty water, ocean currents – are just dreams yet to come true as alternative energy sources. False. There are pioneer projects such as gully wave generator, wave power, OTEC Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, CLAM – British wave pressure system, Japanese osmosis system at estuaries. .

37. Polysaccharides or complex sugars directly release their energy in the body. False. Must first undergo hydrolysis and respiration/oxidation.

38. Nuclear Powers are North Korea and Iran. While they stirred fear and criticism led by the US and Japan imposing sanction on North Korea, South Korea appears undisturbed by the issue of having a bomb at the other side of its fence.. True.

39. Walking saves on energy, in fact it is therapy and leisure when you combine and harmonize your body, mind and spirit with nature. True.

40. Energize, instead of exercise. It is an exercise that restores gait and adds strength, while it brings inner peace. The mind becomes sharper; sensitivity is honed. And just like what the Greeks believed to be the fountain of youth, it could be the missing key to “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” True.

41. Oil from plants lighted the homes of our ancestors. True
Other than the coconut which is the main source of oil in the country, there are plants growing in the wild that yield lamp oil, among them a large tree called palomaria or bitaog (Calophyllum inophyllum) whose large seed is a rich source of oil called domba or “laurel-nut” oil. The seed or kernel yields 70 to 75 percent oil, and is rich in resin (28.5 percent) making bitaog oil an excellent natural varnish. The resin however, is poisonous. Old folks also use bitaog bark for tanning because of its high tannin content (19.12 percent)

42. One source of oil is lumbang (Aleurites moluccana). Its seeds yield 62 percent lamp and industrial oil. Just pick its ripe berry and light it. It produces a bright bluish flame. False You are referring to hanga, a small tree whose mature berries directly burn with bluish flame. It is plentiful in the highlands, such as in Benguet. One can visit the collection of hanga trees at the DENR field station in Loakan, near the Baguio airport.

43. Among the alternative sources of oil which are being investigated in the light of spiraling oil price, are the following species of Family Euphorbiaceae, to which the rubber tree belongs.

Soro-soro (Euphorbia neriifolia),
Gatas-gatas (E. pilulifera),
Consuelda (E. tirucalli),
• Physic nut (Jatropha curcas),
• Castor-oil plant or tangantangan (Ricinus communis) True.

44. Practically the energy we use directly or indirectly came from the sun. True.

45. If you direct all the light of the stars and harness them collectively you will be able to amass tremendous energy. False. No one has succeeded.

46. The human body is a perfect machine in terms of energy conversation and utilization, than no human invention can compare. True.

47. There are now hydrogen powered car running on the streets – the promise to replace fossil fuels. False. Still on experimental stage.

48. Magnetic shield protects the earth from deleterious radiation from space. True. Magnetic lines run from south pole to north pole, creating beautiful aurora borealis and aurora austalis.

49. Living organisms do not use energy during dormancy – aestivation and hibernation. False. Energy consumption fall very low.

50. Hydrogen bomb works on the principle of fusion, while the atomic bomb works of the principle of fission. True.

Rating: 45-50 Excellent; 40-44 Very Good; 35-39 Good; 30-34 Fair; 25-29 Passing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reviving the Do-it-Yourself Culture - A Framework Guide

Abe Rotor and Melly Tenorio
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid DZRB 7738 KHz AM

Advantages, benefits of do-it-yourself culture

1. Wholesome hobby and pastime
2. Teaching children the culture of do-it-yourself
3. Hones talents, creativity
4. Savings
5. Earning and profits
6. Aesthetics and ergonomics
7. Safety and convenience
8. Health and exercise
9. Recycling, repair, restore
10. “Skill is a lifetime, a heritage too.”

A. Parts and fixtures of the house most often require fixing.

1. Lights
2. Roof
3. Door knob and locks
4. Bookshelves and Cabinets ,
5. Gate and doors
6. Wall and table clock
7. Wall
8. Window
9. Fence
10. Garage
11. Chair, bench and table
12. Playground fixtures
13. Working area
14. Façade, frontage
15. Garden
16. Sidewalk and path walk
17. Doghouse
18. Glass pane, skylight
19. Floor
20. Stairs

B. Major causes of damage or need to renovate
1. Termite and fungus
2. Typhoon
3. Heat and cold
4. Obsolesce
5. Wear and tear
6. Defective make or construction
7. Poor/substandard materials
8. Expanding family/Children have grown up
9. Business/office
10. Retirement home
11. Kids’ home (children and grandchildren)
12. Refurbish, remodel, decorate
13. Accident caused/accident prevention
14. Energy conservation
15. Simplify
16. Healthier environment
17. Global warming, pollution
18. Laws and regulation
19. Taste, aesthetics
20. Modernize

C. Common Tools and Equipment to use
1. Handy tools: saw, hammer, chisel, plumb bob. try square, lever, crowbar, cutter, tacker, puncher, file, lagaring bakal,
2. Cutting tools: bolos and knives, saw,
3. Metal shear, scissor, sinsil, cutters, plier, cutter pliers
4. Plumbing tools
5. Car and garage tools
6. Kitchen tools
7. Grinder and sharpener
8. Soldering, glue gun,
9. Riveting
10. Gardening tools
11. Welding
12. Electrical
13. Electronic tools
14. Mechanized tool: drill, planer, sander
15. Finishing: air compressor and painting
16. Sewing machine
17. Crowbar, spade, rake, spading fork
18. Wheel burrow, portable cart
19. Ladder
20. Measuring tools: meter. Tape, nibel


1. Tool cabinet
2. Working bench
3. Working table
4. Tool bag/box
5. Safety Devices
6. Fire extinguisher
7. First Aid
8. Exhaust fan
9. Organizer
10. Computer

D. Skills and Training
1. Vocational Courses
2. Elementary Industrial Arts
3. Deep interest/hobby
4. Entrepreneurial
5. Books and Catalogues
6. Shows and exhibits
7. Malls and hardware
8. Growing up with tools
9. Getting an expert – be the “piyon”
10. Apprenticeship
11. Clubs and associations
12. Modeling (sand table, school project)
13. Lecture-Workshops
14. Self-study and practice; practice makes perfect
15. Internet

Living with Nature, AVR

Stream gone wild

Abe V Rotor

Rampage, acrylic AVR 2009

A stream gone wild from imagination,
a paintbrush in my hand;
In rampage over a once fertile land
abandoned by man;
It sweeps down the valley raging
'til everything is gone,
Save in the heart and mind of those
who see a new dawn.

Living with Nature, AVR

Latex paint is preferred over oil for beginners

Abe V Rotor

Summer Art Workshop for Children

What kind of paint shall I use?

Well, use water-based acrylic. In hardware stores, it is called latex paint. It is multipurpose and the most popular paint today - from art and house paint. I prefer latex paint to oil for art painting - especially for children. These are the reasons.

1. Latex is less toxic than oil paint. Both however, contain materials not good to health, like lead, hydrocarbon and dioxide compounds. By the way, there is no paint that is completely safe to health and the environment. The most hazardous is lacquer paint - the one in canister or used on automobile. It is among the CFC materials that destroy the ozone layer.

2. Latex is much cheaper and it does not entail additional costs for solvents like turpentine, linseed oil and kerosene as thinner, spreader and cleaner, and in the case of lacquer, volatile solvents.

3. Latex is easy and convenient to use. Because it is water-based, paintbrush is easy to clean and it will last longer. Stains can be easily removed, especially when paint is still fresh.
Latex paint dries in minutes, oil in hours or days.

4. Waste from latex paint is easier to dispose. Generally let the paint dry first before it is disposed just like any garbage, except of course, when dealing with large quantities. Wash paintbrush in sink, don't wash on waterways and open areas.

5. Latex is versatile and has wider application. It comes in different colors, primary or mixed. It is sold in your nearest hardware stores in different brands and sizes. You can use rollers, paintbrush or palette - or in combination, specially in art painting. It is used on any surface - canvas, wood, concrete - and even metal after a suitable primer is made.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

40 Ways to make the best of Summer

Dr Abe V Rotor

Lesson: Spend summer wisely, leisurely; make it a real vacation. Give yourself a break. Cancel or postpone appointments in favor of yourself and your family. Nothing beats summer better than making it a season for vacation. Learn from what others say.

Children flying kites and fishing, detail of mural, AVR 2009

Summer Home, acrylic AVR 2005

These suggestions were gathered from our audience in Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air), DZRB 738 AM 8 to 9 evening Monday to Friday. []

1. Going on vacation to the province, pay respects to old folks. It is reunion with family and relatives, and friends - and having new acquaintances.

2. Going abroad, staying with relatives and friends there, seeing places, meeting people. To be in other countries expand our consciousness about different cultures, and discovering how beautiful our country is. It can make one really feel homesick.

3. Homecoming with former classmates. It is attending to a friend's wedding, or seeing one before leaving to live in another place, welcoming new neighbors and members of your organization.

4. Putting on cool clothes, comfortable field shoes, accessories against sun.

5.Enrolling in back subjects – “survival classes.”

6. Having a digital camera and taking photos and arranging them in an album, or in the computer.

7. Not wasting the season watching TV and playing with the computer every day.

8. Getting into some classes in craft, art, sports, dance, driving, and the like.

9. Working on your body at a local gym, play badminton, volleyball, pingpong, other sports.

10. A walk in the park, on the beach, walk with nature – nature trail.

11. Learning to market, to cook and prepare the table – specially for girls.

12. Renting a beach house for the whole family and building a campfire.

13. Having an inflatable swimming pool on the garden, for kids - and adults, too.

14. Planting tree seedlings at the onset of rain, and preparing the home garden as well.

15. Putting up a lemonade stand and going into business. Selling halo-halo, gulaman, buko juice,

16. Relaxing at the beach watching the ocean – meditating and recharging energy.

17. Creative writing – poetry, short story, essay, feature.

18. Writing in your journal – The Story of my Life
19. Giving more chance for the body to recovery faster from ailment and infirmity.

20. Seeing the family doctor, scheduling a thorough checkup – and getting a clean bill of health.

21. Making a family video of an occasion, better still a documentary. It is organizing family photos, report cards, birthday cards, artwork, concert programs and other keepsakes from the past year into a scrapbook.

22. Remembering the departed, offering candles and prayers in their memory; above all a whisper or act of gratitude for all the goodness they did for us.

23. Bonding with pets, making them happy and healthy - and teaching your dog new tricks.

24. Learning a new language. The best way is to go to a place where the language you wish to learn is the only language.

25. Improving your English - speaking and writing. And reviving the art of handwriting.

26. Learning to play a musical instrument. Music enhances the mind in many ways. Studies have shown that children who study music at an early age do better in school than those who don’t. Aside from that, it is also just plain fun.

27. Learning to sew, making and mending clothes. Older and more skilled children can even make their own clothes for the coming school year.

28. Taking a special computer class - but make it fun. Learn to type properly, use a spreadsheet or database, design websites, make presentations, etc. Most jobs these days involve computer use, so knowing as much as you can about computers might help you get a higher salary.

29. Sorting through your stuff . Go through your clothes and things and prune out those you no longer want or need. You could donate the things you no longer need or hold a garage or yard sale and make some money to put into your college or retirement savings.

30. Getting a summer job, “earning to learn,” specially for working students.

31. Indexing your books, other references, documents with the computer or the conventional way.

32. Cleaning out your computer. If there are programs you don’t use, uninstall them. If there are files that you no longer need, delete them. Keeping your hard drive from getting too full will extend its life.

33. Mall Walking - Walking in an indoor, air-conditioned mall is a great way to get exercise away from the heat and smog, and you can also save on sunscreen. You can even window-shop during your walks, but if you think you might get too tempted, leave your money and credit card at home.

34. Learning to swim. Swimming is another low-impact exercise (safer than running) which increases endurance, muscle and cardiovascular strength. Try to swim in an indoor pool whenever possible or wait until early evening to avoid sunburn.

35. Joining prayer rallies, healthy religious activities, bible studies.

36. Making sweet, jams, jellies, for hobby and money. Summer is fruit season.

37. Joining community projects like Clean and Green, supporting environmental campaign such as beach cleaning, prevention of brush fire.

38. Reviving traditional games like kite flying, sipa, spinning top, yoyo – make, don’t buy.

39. Repair, repair, repair. Name it and it needs repair (toys, house, figurine, kitchen wares, china, garden tools, books, etc)

40. Fiestas, celebrations, festivities. It is also a time of retreat and reflection.

From these responses, it is good to keep always in mind this guide.
  • Be frugal and simple,
  • Be productive,
  • Have fun, and
  • Share with others.
NOTE: This is an open ended list. Please share your experiences and add them to the list. Our audience will simply be too glad to learn from you. x x x

Never say goodbye to a stream

Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Use SEARCH for the topic you wish to access using keyword. We have now 1,779 posts (lessons)

Lesson: Writing poetry about Nature

Make use of your eighth sense - naturalism.
Naturalists are those who talk to Nature and understand her language better than most people do. Read the works of Charles Darwin, Francis of Assisi and Aristotle, and contemporary naturalists like Peter Farb, Edwin Teale, EO Wilson, Attenborough, and Aldo Leopold.

Flow gently friendly stream, detail of mural, AVR 2010

I talked to the stream down the hill,
words softly came in whisper;

played with the colorful fish
going in and out of cover;

talked to the gathering cloud
as it fell into gentle shower;

watched the bees and butterflies
kissing flower after flower;

waved at the birds passing by
heading home for summer;

picked wild fruits and berries
to satiate my hunger;

brushed the grassy shore

and hushed the unseen under -

it's a quail, an old familiar friend,
dashing to its shelter;

I bathed in the stream of my boyhood,
cooling away an old fever;

and laughed - its water tickling my feet
as it headed for the river;

stream of no return, keep on flowing,
never shall I say goodbye - never. ~

Living with Nature, AVR

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tree Surgery

Cement cast for a tree

A new lease of life for this sampaloc tree (Tamarindus indica), thanks to tree surgery. Its damaged trunk was restored with cement cast which the tree later adopted it as it were its own limb. Note the cambium layer slowly enveloping the cement cast. Grand Palace grounds, Bangkok 2009

Friday, March 25, 2011

Anxiety, Phobia and Depression

Anxiety, Phobia and Depression
Abe V Rotor

Welcome to Living with Nature - School on Blog
1,774th post
with 92,000 pageviews todate

Exercise on Anxiety, Phoba and Depression

I posted the answers for you to examine each item why it is true or false. This is a reverse test which is an alternative method of learning.

Overcoming fear of children with caring
attitude of parents. Tagaytay Zoo, 2007

1. All of us are invariably victims of anxiety. Our aging parents, retirement benefits, sex life, health – name it, real or imaginary – and you have it, irrespective of sex, age, domicile, profession, work, race, creed, etc. (T)

2. There is something mysterious about anxiety, its dualism. It is a normal response to physical danger so that it can be a useful tool for focusing the mind where there’s a deadline looming. But anxiety can become a problem when it persists to long beyond the immediate threat, which leads to depression. (T)

3. While we worry for certain things and situations, other people simply don’t - they simply don’t care. (T)

4. People who are mediocre – more so if they did not reach higher education – are more subject to anxiety than intelligent and highly learned people. (F)

5. Uneasiness, lightheadedness, clumsiness are the first signs of anxiety. (T)

6. Nausea, panic, fears of losing control or dying are advanced signs and symptoms of anxiety. (T)

7. Sweaty and cold palms and feet may be due to nervousness which is a natural reaction. (T)

8. Dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain are some psychosomatic symptoms. (T)

9. Many of the things we worry about are baseless, if not nonsense. (T)

10. Animals appear to feel anxiety – an instinctive response necessary for survival. (T)

11. Rats and chicken freeze in place momentarily when subjected to sudden fear stimulus. The opossum feigns dead which is actually an involuntary fear response. (T)

12. Anxiety helped in human evolution. Records of anxiety show how humans shared the planet with saber-toothed tigers. Without it few of us would have survive, if at all. (T)

13. Mass anxiety humans suffered during the two world wars was revived by terrorism which attacked the Twin Towers of New York. (T)

14. Anxiety disorder affects 19 million Americans, 25% not having any medical treatment. It is steadily rising in all countries where Western influence is getting stronger.

15. Mental illnesses account for 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability in Asia (T)

16. In Cambodia an estimated 75% of adults who lived through the Kmer Rouge era suffer from extreme stress or post traumatic stress disorder. (T)

17. Highest rate of suicide: Sri Lanka per 100,000 – 55; followed bt Japan (25.2; S Korea – 19.1; China 17-20; Singapore, India, Thailand, Australia, US and Britain (T)

18. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that severely alters the way a person actually thinks and behaves 9hallucinations, delusions, confusion, withdrawal, agitation, emotional numbness – about 100 percent of patient can expect a full and lasting recovery (F 50% only)

19. According to Sigmund Freud, One is more biological in nature and the other is more dependent on psychological factors. (T)

20. Fear – any external stimulus from threatening words to a gunshot, that the brain interprets as dangerous. (F Stress)

21. Stress – The short-term physiological response produced by both the brain and the body in response to stress.(F Fear)

22. Depression – A sense of apprehension that shares many of the same symptoms as fear but builds more slowly and lingers longer.(F Anxiety)

23. Anxiety – Prolonged sadness that results in a blunting of emotions and sense of futility; often more serious when accompanied by an anxiety disorder. (F Depression)

24. Panic disorder – This is recurrent, unexpected attacks of acute anxiety, peaking within 10 minutes. One finds himself in a situation such as in a crowded elevator. If extreme anxiety symptoms appear, the person may be suffering of anxiety disorder that needs medical consultation, even if this is occasionally experienced. (T)

25. Specific Phobia – This is characterized by consuming fear of a specific object or situation, often accompanied by mild to extreme anxiety symptoms. It may just be plain hate, or fear, say heights. Behavioral therapy – gradual introduction of the cause, until enough courage is built; and cognitive therapy – re-orientation of perception or behavior, may be needed independently or jointly. (T)

26. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - a preoccupation with specific thoughts, images or impulses, accompanied by elaborate and sometimes bizarre rituals. Even if they are irrational thoughts, repetitive ritual (e.g. hand washing, prayer), time consuming – researchers are certain whether of not OCD is genuine anxiety. Whatever it is, it does respond to treatment.(F) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

27. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – repeated, anxious reliving of a horrifying event over an extended period of time. It is not anxiety if the experience fades away steadily, but if it may persist, and sometimes PTSD will not appear until six months after the event. This is caused by recurrent recollection or dream of the event, feeling the even to be still occurring, experience reminding you of the event, and difficulty in avoiding thought associated with it. (F) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

28. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Excessive anxiety or worry for days or months, but does not affect quality of life. Characterized by restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension. Have three or more of these symptoms confirm a person is suffering of GAD. (T)

29. Anxiety is inherited, thus children suffering of anxiety are most likely candidates of depression. Some people seem to be born worriers. Some anxiety disorders are known to run in the family. If the genes involved are reinforced by environment, the expression become more distinct. (T Nature-nurture)

30. Identical twins are more likely show stronger tendency to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, even one with low genetic vulnerability could develop a fear of something that may even be greater than one with high genetic vulnerability. (T)

31. Many kids outgrow their anxiety disorder to become well-adjusted adults. Anxiety and depression have similar underlying biology. Anxiety may surface early in life and depression later. But researchers are divided in this observation. (T or F)

32. Anatomy of anxiety as explained to the ordinary citizen goes like this - The senses pick up a threat – a scary sight, a loud noise, a creepy feeling – the information takes two different routes through the brain – but it takes the shortcut – the brains automatically engages an emergency hot line to the fear center – the amygdala (T)

33. FFF (Fight, Flight, Fright) - Adrenaline shoots into the muscles preparing the body to do the appropriate action. (T)

34. Digestion Shutdown – Brains stops thinking about things that bring pleasure, conserve energy otherwise wasted on digestion, hence vomiting, defecation, urination may occur. (T)

35. Cognitive therapy – Best for phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panic disorder is to expose patients to a tiny bit of the very thing that causes them anxiety. (F Behavioral therapy)

36. Behavioral therapy– rethinking, behavior modification through proper advice. (F Cognitive therapy)
37. Minor tranquilizers – Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft are best known among the antidepressant drugs The newest group is norepinephrine which control emotion and stabilize mood, thus there is no need of doctors’ prescription. (F these are antidepressant drugs)

38. In Western countries, it is the woman who normally initiate divorce; in Asia it is
the man (F)

39. Lifestyle Changes which include cut back or eliminate the use of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, are helpful in overcoming anxiety. (T)

40. The most practical therapy is exercise – talk therapy, simple exercise (at least 30 minutes), brisk walk Exercise releases natural opiates called endorphins, (T)

Reference: The Science of Anxiety Time 39 to 47 pp July 8, 2002; Lost Lives Time November 10, 2003; What Scares you? Phobias Time April 2, 2001